SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
1 Peter 2:11 – 5:14
Key Verse: Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. – 1 Peter 2:12
Today’s scripture offers us many nuggets of wisdom, inspiring verses that may guide us in our behavior as Christians. Each one supports the notion that we may advance God’s Kingdom by setting a good example in daily living.
The value of a good example is immeasurable. Each of us can cite the names of many persons who have influenced us greatly by their good example. Such a person may have been a parent, a sibling, a neighbor, a teacher, a pastor, or a friend. You may find it a helpful exercise to write the names of those whose example touched your life, and give thanks to God for their gift of influence.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus is our example. Though we cannot imitate our Lord’s sinless life, we should strive with all our hearts to live “Christlike” lives. People should be able to observe that, in all things, and despite our flaws, we are seeking to live “like Jesus.”
Our key verse, 1 Peter , suggests that Peter was familiar with the teaching of Jesus given in Matthew – “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (NASB). Peter echoes the reminder that our “good works” may cause others to “glorify” God.
We should understand that a “walk” that honors Christ must back up our “talk.” Good works are not enough. Our witness will be strong only when “we walk like we talk.” The unbeliever is not likely to believe what we say unless we make a sincere effort to practice what we preach.
We set a good example when we do what is right, for the right reason. We “abstain from fleshly lusts” because we are the people of God. Our standards of conduct come not from our culture but from the Word of God.
We do good not to be praised by others but to please God. When our motive is not self-serving, then God can use our good conduct to lead others to trust Christ.
Those who serve in Lay Witness Missions hear frequently this comment: “You have something I don’t have; please share with me what it is and tell me how I can get it.”
People want to know the source of their radiant faith. The witnesses, then, can explain that what they have is a relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. The good news is that anyone who desires that dynamic relationship with Jesus may have it – whenever life is surrendered totally to the Christ.
When Christ is Lord, he gives us the strength to handle false accusations and even to suffer for doing good. He enables us to be faithful in prayer, to let our love “cover the multitude of sins” of others, and graciously to offer generous hospitality to our fellow Christians.
It is crucial that the glory, the credit, for anything we are able to do must be given to Christ. As John said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” The ever-present danger is that we shall dwell too much on our own goodness and not enough on the One who makes it possible.
There is no doubt that our adversary, the devil, looks constantly for ways to “devour” us and ruin our witness. One of his best weapons is pride. Nothing serves the devil better than for us to become proud of our good works. The devil has a good laugh when he sees Christians strutting like a peacock and boasting of their good deeds.
Knowing this, we must balance “letting our light shine” with a deep sense of humility. Our attitude should be like that of the publican who prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke ). Peter offers us the best solution:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
When we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, he will use our good works to bring glory to his Name. As long as we humbly trust him, he will help us to set a good example that can make an eternal difference in the lives of others. + + + + (Walter may be contacted at email@example.com.)